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Challenging rope courses and high-flying ziplines over wildlife enclosures are all part of the experience at Cairns Zoom and Wildlife Dome. In fact this is the only place in the world where you can zipline right over a saltwater crocodile.

cairnszoom8I admit I’m scared of heights to the point that I feel a nauseating lurch in my stomach, I get sweaty palms and I feel a bit shaky when I’m too far off the ground.

So the idea of doing the Dome Climb and one of the Cairns Zoom rope courses both excited me and scared me to death at the same time.

But knowing how much my kids wanted to do it, I agreed to give it a go and off we went.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]cairns wildlife dome[/headline]

tawny frogmouthCairns Wildlife Dome is actually on the roof of the Reef Hotel Casino and is an incredible place to visit with wildlife and rope courses surrounded by a tropical jungle.

To ease us in before tackling the rope course we decided to wander around the Dome and look at all the wildlife first.

There is a range of reptiles with snakes, freshwater crocodiles, lizards and turtles, all in spacious enclosures and not always easy to spot. But that was half the fun, finding the animals who were often camouflaged or under the water.

There were also plenty of cute and cuddly animals to see including koalas, mahogany gliders, sugar gliders, bettongs, pademelons and wallabies.

And for those who love birds, there was a huge variety of birdlife in all sizes and colours from frogmouth owls and kookaburras through to cockatoos, parrots, swallows and finches.

cairnszoom10And not all of them were in aviaries either with many flying freely around the Dome.

Throughout the day there are also wildlife shows and presentations, you can meet the star of Cairns Dome ‘Goliath’ the four metre long saltwater crocodile and you can have your photo taken with a freshwater croc, a koala, a snake or a sugar glider.

But we decided to skip the shows and photo opps for a go on Cairns Zoom.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]cairns zoom[/headline]

Believe it or not Cairns Zoom is the only ropes course in the world to be built inside a wildlife immersion exhibit.

cairns zoom ropes courseBut I wasn’t quite ready yet for the Hi-Zoom so we got harnessed up for the Mid-Zoom ropes course. Everybody participating in Cairns Zoom must wear a safety harness, which is connected to a safety cable system so you follow the cable around the course.

The Mid-Zoom is supposedly an easier ropes course with tunnels, a climbing wall, cargo net and swings to provide initial training before tackling the Hi-Zoom.

My eight year-old raced through this course with ease, eager to tackle the higher ropes. However, my fear of heights slowed me down and I took a little longer to complete the Mid-Zoom, but I’m proud to say I did complete it and felt an enormous sense of achievement.

And I admit I didn’t join the rest of the family or our friends on the Hi-Zoom as it was out of my comfort zone and I was happy to be photographer.

cairns zoom high ropes courseThe Hi-Zoom is a much more adventurous ropes course suspended high above the ground with more complex and challenging crossings.

The activities include walking over hanging tyres and moving rope bridges, plus it has three high ziplines with one of them above the open enclosure of Goliath the crocodile.

Rest assured there is no way you can fall and it is a great photo opportunity.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]dome climb[/headline]

I was most excited about doing the Dome Climb and happy to conquer my fear of heights in order to take in the amazing 360 degree views of Cairns from the roof of Cairns Dome.

We had planned to watch the sunset from the roof but as we took longer than expected on Cairns Zoom (okay that was my fault), it was dark by the time we got up there.

cairnszoom6But I think it was even more magical at night and was by far the highlight of my visit.

Still wearing a harness and connected to a cable attached to the outside of the building, we followed the 60 centimetre-wide platform around the dome roof for a bird’s eye view of Cairns all lit up at night.

It is quite spectacular and definitely worth doing.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]power jump[/headline]

cairns zoom power jumpAfter climbing at least 10 flights of stairs to reach the roof for the Dome Climb, the only way back down is to take the stairs again or do a Power Jump.

We all opted for the Power Jump, which was an exhilarating free-fall experience.

You jump or step off a 13 metre high tower while still harnessed and also connected to a steel cable.

Thanks to a fan device, the cable lowers you slowly after the initial jump and you land gently on a trampoline below.

Even I gave it a go and I actually enjoyed it.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]our verdict[/headline]

After completing all the Cairns Zoom courses, the Dome Climb and the Power Jump, we had our harnesses removed and we were awarded certificates for all the activities we completed.

It was a fantastic and fun outing to do with family and friends and one you will want to do over and over again whether you are a local or a tourist.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]travel nq fast facts:[/headline]

  • There is a height and weight restriction on all the ropes, climb and jump activities with a minimum height requirement of 120 centimetres and maximum weight of 120 kg
  • Minimum age for Cairns Zoom activities is 6 years old and all children participating must be accompanied by a parent or adult
  • It is also great for corporate team building, birthday parties, hens and bucks parties and school holidays
  • You can choose to do just one activity or all of them
  • You will need to allow a minimum of 2 hours to complete the Dome and Zoom experience.